The most emblematic: The Rings by Daniel Buren and Patrick Bouchain
These rings, the work of plastic artist Daniel Buren and architect Patrick Bouchain, have been decorating the Quai des Antilles, along the Banana Shed, for over 10 years now. There are 18 of them, offering a double perspective, both architectural on the city and natural on the river. At nightfall, they turn into a luminous halo, nimbing the tip of the island of Nantes in red, green and blue.
The little news: The Belvedere of the Hermitage of Tadashi Kawamata
Each year, the perennial route of the Voyage à Nantes is enriched by new works. Among the new works for 2019 is the Belvedere of the Hermitage by the artist Tadashi Kawamata, which rises from the heights of the Sainte-Anne hill. Hanging nearly 65 foots above the ground, this 118-metre-long footbridge resembles a bird's nest from which one can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city and the river.
The most bestial: The Machines of the Island
We no longer present this extraordinary bestiary straight out of the imagination of Pierre Orefice and François Delarozière, crazy builders who set up their workshop under the naves of the city's former shipyards. It is not uncommon for some of these living machines to escape, to the delight of young and old alike. Among the best known, the 39 feet high elephant is a favourite. There is also the Carrousel des Mondes Marins, a real mechanical sculpture dedicated to the sea, with fishermen from all over the world, giant crab, pirate fish and other squid with rear-wheel drive.
The Most Unexpected: The Art of Signs
Whoever walks around downtown Nantes with his nose up in the air may well have a few surprises in store for him! Since 2014, with each edition of the Voyage à Nantes, shops have gradually seen their brands reinvent themselves according to the imagination and creativity of artists whose work is both entertaining and questioning. One laughs at the mythical long-haired animal overlooking the entrance of a shop on rue du Bouffay, before seeing the ribbon of disguised animals above the neighbouring butcher's shop. You won't want to miss the ice unicorn on Rue du Château or the giant denture in which the teeth are replaced by Rigolettes, a Nantes speciality, which decorates the front of the confectionery of the same name.
The most condensed: Micr'Home
From the street you can see the inside of this amazing triplex perched 16 feets above the ground and sunk between two buildings. Designed by Myrtille Drouet, Micr'Home offers a different way of living in the city by concentrating all the rooms of an apartment on 280 square feet, three levels and 7 feets wide. Want to try your hand at doll's life? The gîte can be booked for one or more nights.
Who says art isn't for children? Certainly not the Japanese architect and artist Kinya Maruyama who has designed a playground that is both playful and poetic. Children have fun along the body of this rhinoceros-headed sea monster set in the middle of Mercœur Square in the city centre.
The most offbeat: Éloge du Pas de Côté by Philippe Ramette
On the Place du Bouffay, a strange bronze figure seems determined to escape from its stone base. This man in costume, who borrows the features of the artist Philippe Ramette, represents the allegory of the step aside and symbolizes the audacity of the city, its commitment and its relationship to culture. His offbeat position also makes him a perfect subject for offbeat photos! A second allegory by Philippe Ramette can also be admired on the Cours Cambronne. It is that of transgression, personified by a schoolgirl climbing on an empty pedestal.
Getting to Nantes